Is It Time to Modernize Fenway?

“Ahh, what a rip off!” My father boomed out the driver’s side window of his black, 1985, Chevy S-10 pickup, cursing at the Gulf station lot attendant while maneuvering back to the main road. He was probably just mad at himself, for attempting to park within half a mile of Friendly Fenway. So we drove down towards Brookline, finding a meter along the way.

“Let’s wait for the metah maid to make his rounds,” he said as I imagined what the next four hours of my life entailed. I sat in the truck with my umbro jacket on, a Rawlings glove fit snugly on my left hand, nervously farting in anticipation of the night. The meter* maid made his move past our spot, as did we. Hopping out of the truck, we had bamboozled the city into free parking, as meters expired at 6 PM on weekdays.

The walk to the park was short, and filled with anticipation. I was 12 years old, and heading to my first Red Sox game.

We all feel a ting of nostalgia when reminiscing over our first trip to the Fens. Anxiously gripping our tickets, waiting to be ripped and handed back by park attendants, nary a purse or backpack being searched in the simpler times of 1998. Everything is exciting. Every direction you look is something you’ve never seen before. Wally the Green Monster parading around for photos, the guy on stilts giving autographs but serving no particular purpose, and the smell of spicy Italian sausages being ladened in onions and peppers, for a reasonable $5.

You make your way through the crowded concourse, locating your section by way of the red signs hung twenty feet high over each passage towards the field. Upon locating your designated seating area, every step up the ramp you catch a small glimpse of the perfectly manicured grass. Then another breathless step, followed by one more. Until the entire diamond, the field, and the stands, for the first time in your life, are surrounding you.

The game begins. The sights, sounds, and experiences can’t be translated to a blog, a newspaper column, or a book. Casual fans may not understand; it’s the baseball lifers and Boston homers that truly appreciate the magnificence of their first Fenway magic.

Unless, you are the victim of Mother Nature and her torrential downpours. Before the 2nd inning even came to a commercial break, 30,000 of me and my closest friends were anxiously jammed like sardines into the sweltering confines of the concourses, as misery slowly set in. Ownership allows this, as money pours into their pockets with every purchase of a foam finger or foam filled beer, until two hours painfully tick off the clock, where the game’s cancellation is announced via word of mouth rather than today’s method of social media.
My dad’s concern was palpable when he finally spoke: “Are you okay?”
I lied, responding that I was, but I was devastated. This isn’t what I had in mind for my first baseball game that didn’t involve a tee, or a coach reminding us to “give it 110%, but make sure we have fun out there, too.” For this reason, and quite a few more, I’ve been a component of adding a dome to historical Fenway Park for the past 20 years.

It seems to be an unpopular opinion in the area, but why? What are fans holding on to that a dome piece is going to take away?

Maybe you think it would be ugly. It wouldn’t. Unless you’re an architect who finalized and submitted renovation plans to ownership detailing the park with a roof, you wouldn’t have any idea how it would look. Maybe you’re worried it would cost the taxpayers money. Well, taxes are taxes, and they exist whether Fenway is domed or open. Another popular opinion: it would take away from the beauty of Fenway’s confines. Not in today’s era of modern technology. Look at the gorgeousness of Chase Field and Seattle’s Safeco. Their beautiful, fan filled stadiums put the outdated Rogers Centre and Minnesota’s Metrodome to shame.

As for the pros, well there are plenty.

  • No more rain delays, no more rain outs. Ever. Don’t worry about not making it to a make up because you’ll be at work or on vacation, don’t worry about wasting a trip into boston on a Saturday afternoon to sit through 5 hours of rain delayed sporting.
  • 46° in April, raw air, and a faint drizzle? Or 95° in late July humidity, making the game almost unbearable to sit through? Not in a dome.
  • A retractable roof would ensure that on a cool summer night, plenty of air and sky will be made available to seat dwellers across the stadium.
  • Players. Injuries. Injuries that occur to players, who play on a wet field.
  • Last, from an economical standpoint which I’m not an expert of by any means, I would only assume that a project if this capacity would create jobs in a city where unemployment seems to consistently hover at 3%, which doesn’t sound like a lot.. unless you’re in said 3%.

I don’t know where the disconnect lies, but as a tropical storm threatens the east coast in a time of having seven games remaining at home in a push for back to back division banners, a 72 degree setting with skylights peering into the night sure sounds far more enjoyable than the uncomfortable 40° of October air that lies ahead.

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About Gerard Lombardo

OEF Veteran with a penchant for Red Sox baseball and expedient sways of emotional stability.
View all posts by Gerard Lombardo →

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